Thursday, April 18, 2024

Sharp rise in graffiti vandalism across east Auckland

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Graffiti vandalism such as this case in Howick was removed from across east Auckland during the year. Times file photo Wayne Martin

There’s been an explosion in the amount of graffiti vandalism needing to be removed from across east Auckland.

Beautification Trust staff Daniel Barthow and Dawn Crispe told the Howick Local Board’s members about the scale of the problem during their final business meeting for the year in December.

The pair talked about the work the trust delivered for the local community over the past 12 months.

Barthow said amongst its efforts was removing a large amount of graffiti vandalism across the city.

He said there was a 44 per cent increase in the amount of graffiti the trust has removed compared to last year.

The trust’s staff attended 23,392 incidents involving graffiti vandalism and removed 29,709 individual tags.

The Howick ward area saw a 39 per cent increase in graffiti this year with 374 more tags removed this year compared to 2021.

A total of 1328 tags were removed from within the Howick Local Board area this year.

Board member Bruce Kendall asked Barthow and Crispe if the trust is responsible for removing graffiti vandalism from private and residential property.

Barthow said the trust’s contract with Auckland Council covers removing tags from individual properties.

“Whether that’s on someone’s front fence, that would be something within scope, and on small-scale shops like a corner dairy and also on council property parks and community facilities as well.”

Kendall asked how the trust receives complaints about instances of graffiti vandalism.

“There are three routes,” Barthow replied.

“A member of the public might contact the council and that would be referred back to us to remove that tag.

“Another option is a member of the public comes to us directly and we’d be able to remove that.

“The third option is we have our team out there proactively searching for tags.

“It’s about removing that tag as quickly as possible to deter that ongoing behaviour.”

Board member John Spiller said he was surprised to learn there had been such a large increase in graffiti vandalism.

“Is that across the region and are some areas growing more than others?” he asked.

Barthow said the increase has been “across the board”.

“But in terms of key hot spots, the Franklin Local Board has seen a massive increase of around 70 per cent while the Papakura Local Board had seen an increase of 60 per cent.

“The average is 40 per cent. For Howick it’s 39 so slightly below the average

“It’s still a massive amount of work and in terms of the cause of that, one of the contributing factors is, coming out of Covid, rangatahi [young people] less engaged in their education. We think that’s [had] a big impact.”

Howick village was the site of graffiti vandalism earlier this year.

Several tags appeared on a wall in the alleyway between Picton Street and the Central Terrace car park.

One of the tags said “FTP”, which is a common acronym used in graffiti and stands for

“F*** the Police”, while other tags beside it appeared to say “YZ Gang” and “Young n Reckless”.

The tags were reported and removed.

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